Fluorescein isothiocyanate labelled type I lectin from Bandeiraea simplicifolia (BSA-I) known for its specific binding to α-d-galactopyranosyl and 2-acetamido-2-deoxy-d-galactose groups, has been used to map the distribution of the lectin specific binding sites in the genital organs of female and male mice. In non-pregnant female mice, strong lectin reactivity was restricted to the epithelium of the distal oviduct, the cervix and vagina. In pregnant mice strong BSA-I reactivity was also noted in the epithelium of uterine glands from the time of implantation on day 5 onward. In the testis BSA-I bound selectively to sperm but did not react with other cells in the seminiferous tubules. In the proximal caput epididymis BSA-I reacted with the epithelial cells, the underlying basement membranes and the intraluminal sperm. The intraluminal contents of the seminal vesicles reacted strongly with the lectin. Our data thus show a widespread but selective distribution of BSA-I lectin binding sites in the male and female genital organs and altered lectin binding in the uterus during pregnancy.
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